Here’s a new task to help simplify our lives and minimizing our households.
Challenge # 17: Too Many Toiletries
Clear out excess toiletries, cosmetics, old prescriptions, expired over-the-counter medicines, etc.
How’d it go: I’ve been dreading this minimizing task and have put it off for months by moving it down the task list again and again. I had loads of toiletries, bins worth that I have hauled from place to place over the years. I’d organize and gently cull them but never truly purge what needed to go, even collecting more as time went on. In college I read a hugely impactful dystopian-future book about two young women who survived on their family’s homestead in the woods and slowly went through the last of their modern luxuries, like soaps and razors and sweet-smelling toiletries that reminded them of their carefree life before society collapsed.
It stuck with me. Over the years I have saved the little hotel soaps and shampoos, bought toiletries in bulk, kept every article of make-up and so on until I had far, far too much. I also spent a ton of money back in the day on good-quality department store make-up, and I assumed I would feel guilt and shame throwing it out and wasting that money. As it seems to happen, however, the years pass, and we get more comfortable with ourselves. I have grown to love my bare skin and freckled smile. I no longer want all the makeup. I make my own lotions. I use simpler and far fewer products.
Finally, it was time. I forced myself to gather all the toiletries I had stashed in different areas throughout the house. I spread them out on a big folding table (and surrounding surfaces), sorted them by category and then let myself look at it all for a day or two. The more I walked by it, the more ridiculous I felt. No one person needed all of this or even half of this. Plus, there were so many old and expired items, it was bordering on a health-hazard. A few mornings later, I got up early while the house was still quiet, grabbed a garbage bag, set the timer for 30 minutes and got to work.
Oh, it felt good! I needed slightly more than the timer allowed, but the ploy worked. I went from two stuffed bins, a huge linen closet shelf, a rolling 4-tiered shelf and several gallon baggies of misc. items to what now fits easily on one, well-organized shelf. It’s been several weeks since I’ve completed the task, and I haven’t missed one scrap of it.
And if life as we know it happens to collapse and I’m someday craving one last bath with a little bar of hotel soap, oh well! It’ll make for a good story somewhere along the way.
(Published in the July 24th issue of the Warroad Pioneer)
5 thoughts on “The 17th Minimize Minute”
Do you remember the name of the book about the dystopian women?
Yes, it was called Into The Forest by Jean Hegland. It’s been over two decades since I read it and now I suddenly want to track it down again.
Thank you. Sounds interesting….
I love your cleaning tips! I need them. They are really good reminders of things I need to do. I love it that you make your own lotions!
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I love this! I have had this tendency myself and I really love it when I pull open my drawers and cupboards and they are not filled with little random bottles and soaps. I learned from Marie Kondo that things in the smaller bottles tend to expire faster than regular toiletries anyway. So I never keep more than a couple that I can carry in my gym bag or camping when needed.
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